From independence, freedom and truth


Spain’s Freedom and Democracy under attack

Fernando del Pino Calvo Sotelo

June 20, 2018

Recently appointed Socialist President Sánchez has been quick to show his extremism as he expressed his wish to resume his totalitarian proposal to reform the Historical Memory Law, which I criticized in these same pages on February 15, 2018. The proposal, backed by all the subversive parties in Congress, literally includes the creation of a “Truth Commission” (of course, as devoted to the truth as was the Pravda, Communist Soviet Union’s main newspaper), which would establish only one admissible official truth about what happened in Spain between 1936 and 1978, punishing anyone who does not submit to such imposition (journalists, historians, teachers, officials…) with up to four years of prison, destroying books and documents that are considered to belong to a forbidden list, and turning the sadistic torturers and murderers of the chekas —communist facilities where irregular summary trials that led, often after torture, to a death squad were held during the Spanish Civil War —, for instance, into “victims” and “democrats”, the same who murdered part of the ca. 70,000 people killed during the Red Terror just for being Catholics or right-wing. On top of the pathological sectarianism that this reflects, the violation of constitutional rights and liberties it implies is inadmissible: it annihilates ideological freedom, freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of teaching, freedom of education and the right to create a foundation. It goes without saying that it also violates the Human Rights Charter of the UN. Furthermore, politically we are up against a nuclear torpedo aimed to wreck the Transition, blow up the Constitution and delegitimize our constitutional monarchy, our democracy and our Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. Zapatero, with his hidden agenda of regime change, planted the seed; Rajoy watered it with his guilty inaction and radical Sánchez, who would be happy to be the leader of a new radical left Popular Front with the Leninist-communist party (open friends of Venezuela’s Chavez and Maduro), wants to force us to eat the poisonous fruit.

Philosopher George Santayana said that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. In 1936 the Second Republic had degenerated completely and was no longer a democracy, but rather a pre-revolutionary anarchy encouraged —after fraudulent elections— by the radical leftist government of the Popular Front, a mix of parties formed, among others, by the bolshevized Socialist Party (PSOE). The PSOE, far from defending freedom and democracy, had promoted the coup d’état of 1934 against the Republic, and advocated for revolutionary violence after having purged the more moderate member of the party, Julián Besteiro, who would later be unjustly imprisoned by Franco’s regime. Shootings between factions, arbitrary arrests of opponents, journalistic censorship, burning of churches and convents, savage strikes and death threats in Parliament against the right wing opposition representatives occurred day in and day out.

To illustrate the true situation of Spain’s Second Republic in 1936 more clearly: one night (July 13th, 1936), a death squad formed by regime police officers and bodyguards of several PSOE leaders took the right-wing opposition leader, José Calvo-Sotelo, from his home, yanked him from his wife’s arms while their young children were sleeping and killed him shooting him twice in the back of the head. This took place in a time of complete “democratic normality” during the Second Republic, just before the war. The sense of impunity with which the killers took action was such that they drove an official police car, their faces uncovered, and showed their true IDs to several witnesses. They knew the government would not persecute them: and indeed, the government did nothing, and several socialist representatives hid the perpetrators in their homes. Can you imagine this happening today? How would you define a political system that allows such a thing? Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister during World War II and Hitler’s greatest enemy, describes it in his Memoirs: “Many of the ordinary guarantees of civilized society had been already liquidated by the Communist pervasion of the decayed Parliamentary government. A perfect reproduction of the Kerensky period in Russia was taking place in Spain (…), and the increasing degeneration of the parliamentary regime and the growing strength of the movements for a Communist revolution (…) led to a military revolt that had long been preparing”. Churchill continues: “In the collapse of civilized government the Communist sect obtained control and acted in accordance with their drill. Wholesale cold-blooded massacres of their political opponents, and of the well-to-do, were perpetrated by the Communists who had seized power”. The Western democracies (the United States, England, France) saw the reality: quite significantly, they decided not to back the Republican side, remained neutral during the Spanish Civil War, and recognized Franco’s government within 24 hours of his victory on April 1st, 1939.

Let us move further, to 1976. Franco had died the previous year. The regime’s government and Parliament (Cortes franquistas) approved a Political Reform Law that would legally transform the regime into a democracy. This law was subjected to a referendum and approved with 94% of votes in favor (and a participation of 77%). It gave way to the first free elections to form a Constituent Assembly, where parties led by figures from Franco’s regime obtained the majority and who, with great generosity on all sides, agreed on the 1978 Constitution, approved by 88% of the votes in a second referendum. In other words, the transition from a dictatorship to a democratic system took place “from law to law”, smoothly, in a process overwhelmingly legitimized by the Spanish people. With the endorsement of the Spaniards each step of the way, it is the Francoist Parliament who approves the rise of democracy; it is the heir chosen by Franco, King Juan Carlos, who becomes the Head of State of the democracy; and it is the reformist ex-Secretary General of “The Movement” (the only party of Franco’s regime), the last Prime Minister of the dictatorship, whom the Spanish freely chose as their first Prime Minister of the democracy (with 168 seats, plus 10 from the party led by another former Francoist minister, out of a total of 350 seats in Congress).

The success of this peaceful transition, which earned the admiration of the entire world, cannot only be credited to the king and a group of politicians who were able to make decisions with magnanimity and foresight; it succeeded most importantly because the Spaniards had completely reconciled and did not see each other as adversaries or enemies, but rather as fellow citizens and neighbors. Time played an important role, as did the relative popularity of the regime, which, despite its obvious shortcomings, had several factors in its favor: by 1976, 30 years had passed since the harsh repression of war’s victors, there was rule of law (the prison population was a quarter of what it is today), and there was almost no corruption (the topic did not even come up in the political campaigns of the 1970s). Furthermore, the obvious lack of political freedom had not prevented the economy from undergoing the period of greatest stability and prosperity in the country’s history, with a GDP per capita growing at a rate of 6% per year since 1950 (compared to a meager 1.5% since 1978 till today), with an average unemployment rate of 3% (compared to a rate of 17% since 1978 till today), and an almost non existing public debt (compared to 100% over the GDP of today). These are the data.

All serious countries assimilate their history and, whether we like it or not, Franco’s dictatorship is part of ours. The Socialist Party (PSOE) of the 80s, which unlike today was at the time a moderate social-democrat party committed to the rule of law, won 202 seats in 1982 (again, out of 350) and, because of its moderation, would achieve an absolute majority two more times. Well, with such amazing power and despite having reached power only seven years after the death of the dictator, it responsibly let the dead bury the dead and never tried to rewrite the past with anything remotely similar to such a totalitarian, biased Historical Memory Law that aims at stating a compulsory official truth. Now compare it with today’s PSOE, led by radical socialist Sánchez and his meager 84 representatives, who is in power by pure chance. He pretends to embody the values of “the 21st Century”, while he unearths corpses (pretending to forcefully remove Franco’s remains from his tomb in a monastery after 43 years, against his descendants’ wishes and the monks’ authorization), opens tombs, wounds and hatreds from a war that took place almost a century ago, is obsessive about a past he wants to rewrite, and has his mind set on imposing in a totalitarian and shameless fashion a series of lies which delegitimize the Transition, our Constitution and our democracy.

When Churchill explained how in 1936 the Second Republic had fallen under the control of communist revolutionaries, he said: “It is part of the Communist doctrine and drill-book, laid down by Lenin himself, that Communists should aid all movements towards the left and help into office weak Socialist governments. These they should undermine and from their falling hands snatch absolute power”. With a weak socialist government supported by Communist-Leninists, we cannot take this warning lightly. The Historical Memory Law is the first step towards regime change, and it’s not for the better. The cause of freedom is under attack. If we don’t stand up to defend it we will lose it.


Fernando del Pino Calvo-Sotelo


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